Within the past couple of years, the male crop top trend has slowly but surely made its way back into the media, fashion, football, and festivals. The biggest spike seemed to be when Kid Cudi performed in a crop top at Coachella in 2014, which sparked hot topic social media hashtags like #boysincroptops and #croptopmovement.
But, is this trend really a movement? The male crop top dates back to the 1970s and was highly popular throughout the 80s. Perhaps it’s simply a movement to bring the trend back in style—and I am completely, 100 percent on board with it.
The male crop top was originally created by men for men and was a part of men’s fashion before women began wearing it. Weightlifters in the 1970s would cut the bottom of their shirts to get around gym dress codes that prohibited them from being shirtless. Crop tops soon spread to other sports and were often seen in football, track and field, and cross country. In the late 70s, it was common for men to wear a crop top to disco dance clubs. Who can resist a man with his navel proudly on display? Once the 80s rolled around, it became the golden age of crop tops. Name-brand clothing retailers such as Nike and Adidas were marketing cropped shirts and sports jerseys to teens and young men.
Males from ages three to 60 would be seen out about with their stomachs showing. School, malls, you name it. In addition, even Hollywood glorified them in numerous films, including Johnny Depp in A Nightmare on Elm Street, Bill in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and characters in Ernest Goes to Camp, Sleepaway Camp, Over the Edge, and Weird Science.
Unfortunately, as time moved on, crop tops for men started to become obsolete and taboo. Unless you were a jock or punk, if you were a boy wearing a crop top, you were instantly assumed gay and feminine. F*ck those stereotypes.
I have been a fan of male crop tops, ever since I was a kid. The earliest memory that sticks out to me is when I was watching National Lampoon’s Vacation. When the Griswalds visit Cousin Eddie, the oldest son, Dale, can be seen sporting cut-off jean shorts and a shirt that stops a couple of inches above his belly button. In addition, he wasn’t a skinny kid. He had a little bit of a belly. Now, why did this look appeal to me so much? To be honest, I do not know. It just looked cool. Even more, boys wearing crop tops were prevalent in cartoons like Hey Arnold and Cow and Chicken. I wanted to wear shirts like that.
However, I was a husky kid and super self-conscious, so like hell I was ever going to wear a crop top around anyone or out in public. I think that is a reason why many guys aren’t jumping on the crop top bandwagon. It’s disappointing. Society has built up this image of what the ideal guy should look like—and this goes for the LGBTQ community as well. Guys with six-pack abs should not be the only ones showing off. If you’re in the bear community and weigh 300 lbs, you have just as much right to flaunt it.
Although I am no longer a husky kid, I would consider myself to be a cub, and I love wearing crop tops. I have several home-made ones and a cropped hoodie from Urban Outfitters. Just because I have a belly, I shouldn’t restrict myself from being comfortable. If you don’t like the way I look, that’s not my problem. It has been said before, and I’m going to be totally cliché, but clothes aren’t what makes the person. I would recommend checking out Marek+Richard, Calvin Klein, and Baldrick Benjamin. These clothing brands will fulfill all your crop top needs.
Who would have known that my sexual fetish is actually helping me to love myself even more? A couple of months ago, I wore a crop top in public for the first time at a bear bar. It was liberating. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight. Don’t let the idea of a crop top scare you.
The manliest of men have worn them with no regrets. Look at Ezekiel Elliot, Zac Efron, and teenage Kevin from NBC’s This Is Us. Not only do they keep you super cool in the summer, they’re comfortable and freeing. You will thank me later.